Subaru’s new Forester sports utility has been voted ‘Towcar Of The Year 2004’ by The Caravan Club despite fierce competition from 52 other cars – the largest number of entrants in the competition’s 21-year history.
The turbocharged Forester 2.0 XT – which also scored a category win in the ‘Compact 4x4’ class – beat off challenges from such diverse cars as the new VW Touareg V10 TDI, BMW 330d Sport Touring and Mercedes-Benz E270 CDI Elegance.
Launched in the UK last October, the new Forester has helped increase Subaru sales by almost 20 per cent so far this year and boasts several features ideal for anyone wishing to tow.
Caravan Club magazine Editor and one of the judges, Barry Williams, said: "Great all-round performance from the Forester. Turbocharging pushes up the power and torque to provide fast pulling power and Subaru’s unique combination of flat-four engine and four-wheel drive aid stability and surefootedness.
"Another feature unique to Subaru is the ‘hill-holder’ clutch – a real boon for caravanners. Bodyshape has a short rear overhang and the latest version has a nicer cabin than before, with better-quality controls."
All ‘Towcar Of The Year’ entrants are put through three gruelling days evaluation by towing experts at the Millbrook Proving Ground in Bedfordshire.
The six driving judges assessed towing performance with points awarded for traction, stability, braking acceleration and hill-starts. The cars were also tested for space, versatility and comfort.
To qualify for entry, all vehicles must be new, heavily modified or a class winner from the previous year.
It is not the first ‘Towcar Of The Year’ success for Subaru. Previous class wins include one for the original Forester and another for the Outback H6-3.0.
Chief Executive Officer for Subaru (UK) Limited, Ed Swatman, said: "This treasured award is an endorsement for all of Subaru’s engineering principles which aim to create safe, stable and fun-to-drive cars. It will also provide a warm feeling of reassurance to existing owners.
"You can be sure we will be back again next year when we can enter our new Legacy and Outback which go on sale this November."
The Subaru Forester range starts at £16,445 on-the-road for the 2.0 X which has a braked towing limit of 1,500 kg. The turbocharged XT range starts at £20,995 OTR and has a braked towing limit of 1,800 kg as a manual and 1,950 kg in automatic form.Published 27 September 2003